SILVERSTONE, 6th July 2014 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - In the second half of the British Grand Prix much attention was given to a desperate battle for fifth place between the multiple world champions of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.
On-track the dispute of the position was titanic, but it was also coloured by either complaining about the other on many occasions, broadcast on the TV feed, with both accusing the other of exceeding track limits, plus Vettel claimed he wasn’t being given enough space in battle.
Afterwards Alonso explained why he was unhappy: ‘I don’t know, if not given you have to tell tomorrow a lot of complaints from my side that Vettel overtook me using out of the track, and he finished in front.
‘I was very proud of my 30 laps, and then he (Vettel) passed me and pulled away five seconds in two or three laps. There were two or three occasions in that lap when he was extremely close, one metre behind where you have no aero performance, so when you are one metre behind normally you go out of track, there is asphalt and you keep the throttle on you make some advantage.’
But Alonso reckoned his defence, while satisfying, was also doomed to failure due to a variety of problems in the second half of the race – including an ERS problem, a stalling rear wing as well as having to save fuel late on.
‘But if it was not this lap (that he was passed) it would have been the next one as we were super slow, like slow motion.
‘I was surprised that he (Vettel) stayed behind, I think he didn’t have good straight-line speed. But it was not anymore a battle. I think I enjoyed a little bit better the Button one, it was eight laps with Jenson that I could not pass, he was defending very well.’
As for him starting ahead of his grid box, which got him a five-second penalty, Alonso explained: ‘When everyone stopped at the end of the formation lap and then when I tried to see my board I see number 7, for Kimi, and then the next one I saw was the number 77 of Bottas. So I missed completely the 14, I didn’t know where it was.
'And I tried to engage reverse gear two or three times and it didn’t engage and I was waiting, waiting, waiting and then suddenly the two lights were on on the start lights, so at that point I had to put first (gear) and go. And wait for a penalty if it was a penalty.
‘We have some precedents such as Massa in Spa a few years ago being out of position and some positions in China last year. Nothing happened. But today it happened.’
Alonso wasn’t sure if he would have finished higher without the penalty: ‘If I start on pole position (I would have finished) sixth! Mercedes are quicker than us, Red Bull two or three laps are five seconds in front, the Williams I was behind Bottas in lap 14 or 15 and I finished 30 seconds behind him…maybe (I’d have finished ahead of) one McLaren, maybe fifth.’
Alonso also confirmed that Kimi Raikkonen seemed OK after his first lap crash: ‘We hope that tomorrow he’ll be 100%’.